Dynamic Duo

Get Ready to LOL & Aww with Matilda's Dynamic Duo John Sanders & Lesli Margherita

November 30th, 2016 by

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Get Ready to LOL & Aww with Matilda's Dynamic Duo John Sa...

As the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Matilda enters its homestretch, two original Broadway cast members remain and they play the the title character's wicked, outlandish, and hilarious parents. Olivier winner Lesli Margherita is back in her fishnets as the loud and fabulous Mrs. Wormwood, while Matilda's original Sergei, John Sanders, takes on the green Wormwood wig as her scheming, telly-lovin' hubby, Mr. Wormwood.

Matilda- lesli Margherita- John Sanders- Wormwoods- Interview

Photo by Joan Marcus


BroadwayBox caught up with the dynamic duo to talk about going from OBC to closing night, laughing on stage and off, and moments you might not notice.


My first impression of my co-star:

John:
My first impression was that she was kind and interested. So many people try so hard to be interestING, but Lesli was both a fascinating person and curious about other people. Also, she was rocking that Wormwood part in rehearsal, so I knew we were in good hands.

Lesli:
I remember talking to him for the first time in rehearsal. I was sitting on the floor, and he came over and we chatted about how I was making my Broadway debut. I remember thinking he was super nice, and I was amazed he was doing double duty by performing in Peter and the Starcatcher on B’way at night. I got to see him go on as Black Stache—he was amazing.


My favorite moment we share onstage together in Matilda:

John:
This has to be when I’m telling her all about my victory of salesmanship over those stupid Russians, and she points out that Russians are nocturnal. She saw it on a program. There’s something about that moment when I realize why these two ridiculous people are in love in the first place. They may be insufferable idiots, but they’re a team! (of idiots)

Lesli:
When I’m being led offstage on the gurney we always either make weird noises or comment on something. It looks like we are arguing, we are laughing most of the time. It continues during our next cross.


I think our most memorable performance so far had to have been:

John:
So hard to pick one out! I’ll say that I’m beyond thankful that she’s so solid and rooted in this show, because when I came into the show a couple of months ago, it was a whirlwind and I sort of had no idea what I was doing. Before that first performance I was standing in the wings, worried I’d forget everything, wondering if it was too late to get out of doing this! But once I got onstage and saw Lesli there, killing it in that unforgettable costume and characterization, I knew I’d be alright. I am so lucky to have her out there.

Lesli:
We had 3 different daughters in one show. That was nuts. Two of the girls got sick, we just had to go with it.


One Matilda original Broadway company memory I will always cherish:

John:
Of course being in an original company is a really special thing, and there’s so much to be grateful for. I remember a company party hosted by Bertie Carvel where Lesli and I bonded for the first time. And of course there was the 5 (count ‘em, five!) weeks of tech we all lived through. But one of my favorites has to be the bus ride over to the Tonys. What a weird, exciting time that was, I’m so lucky to have done that at all.

Lesli:
The first preview. It was my debut, and I was pretty much in tears the whole show. Well, even from that places call. Happy tears.


A small moment we have in the show that I love:

John:
Near the beginning of the play, I harp on her for giving birth to our son, but forgetting to give him a ‘thingy.’ The look on her face while she’s lying there on the gurney, having just birthed Matilda, is pure genius. It’s one of those moments I wish I could just stop the show, and say, “Everybody, just look at what’s going on over here for a second… let’s all look at this amazing, ridiculous thing Lesli is doing, and then we can move on.”

Lesli:
It’s an odd one, but our first scene is when they allow latecomers to be seated. For some reason, it’s always people in the first few rows. There is something about doing a scene with someone and simultaneously noticing often clumsy late people 2 feet from us that really bonds you. lol.  He's great—I start laughing, especially if they are loud or put their coats on the stage like that’s what it’s there for.


If Matilda had senior superlatives, she’d/he’d be “most likely to”:

John:
...go to become a Broadway Diva for the Ages.

Lesli:
Command the Starship Enterprise.


Moment my co-star has onstage that always makes me LOL:

John:
Her final exit is (yet another) a thing to behold. Mr. Wormwood is having mysterious, fatherly feelings of care and concern for Matilda, and as Lesli’s running off I ask what we should do about the girl. At this point, the sounds that come out of her mouth as she descends the stairs and goes off are a study in panto-grotesque brilliance. It’s my pleasure to look to the audience right then thinking, “Can you believe that just happened?”

Lesli:
The book ripping. Especially if John has trouble getting hold of the pages, it just makes it funnier. The frustration is real.


Off-stage, my co-star and I bond over:

John:
It is an amazing, unique experience to get to share these final few months with her. There’s so much shared history between us, as two of only a few people remaining from the original production of Matilda. It’s great to be able to share those memories while we’re forging our new onstage relationship. Also, we complain about how old I am and how our bones creak. Well, my bones creak. She’s made of elastic, I think.

Lesli:
We always sit on the stairwell before the last scene and talk about what we are going to eat after the show. Sometimes we bond over being tired, but mostly about food. Then how tired we are after we eat the food.


I’m in awe of my co-star’s ability to:

John:
...to do the splits during the Broadway Cares speech at the end of show after an eight-show-week. Who does that?!? She leaves it all out there.

Lesli:
Jump into a long running machine of a show and make the role completely his own. It’s awesome.


If I had to describe my co-star as a fictional character:

John:
Um… Can someone say, “Moi!” I’m referring of course (as all her rabid fans know) to the indelible Miss Piggy.

Lesli:
In keeping with the Star Trek theme, because he loves Star Trek—Captain Kirk. He just has that thing about him that makes everyone look to him if something is wrong. You know he would be the first to take care of a problem. I doubt he thinks of himself that way though—which is why he is rad.

Get yourself over to Broadway's Shubert Theatre before January 1, 2017 to see John and Lesli in 'Matilda'.